István Malgot (1941-) is a sculptor, puppeteer, and director. He is a founding member of the Orfeo group.
In 1964, he began his studies at the University of Fine Arts. Two years later, he got in touch with young undergraduates, who were enthusiastic about Maoism and were grouped around György Pór. They criticized the Hungarian communist system and contended that reform was necessary and inevitable. In the so-called Maoist trial, Malgot was given a suspended sentence, but the case was a warning to him.
Sculpture was not the most important field in his activity. He directed theatre performances for decades. He often used masks and puppets, and he combined their visual effects with the human body. In 1969, he founded Orfeo at the university with others. Orfeo was based not only on artistic activity but also on the criticism of the communist system from the left. The members of the group wanted to have an impact on society with the help of art.
In 1972, Orfeo was attacked by the communist cultural leadership and critical articles were published in the central communist press. The accusations were focused on the alleged dissemination of hostile, Western ideology and the immoral lives of the members of the community. The author of the article in the journal of the Hungarian Young Communist League, entitled Hungarian Youth, condemned Malgot as the main guilty party, who allegedly wanted to cut children off from their parents and intended them to create a big family, a commune. He wrote that Malgot broke the rules of social coexistence. In the end, the prosecution did not penalize the members of the group, but they were banned from every community centre. István Malgot and Tamás Fodor got a notice indicating that they were being accused of spreading antisocial views.According to the former members of the group, Malgot was not an ideal leader. There were a lot of conflicts surrounding him. After the theatre and puppet group broke off, from 1974 Malgot worked as a director in different theatres, and he established a short-lived Gypsy company. In the 1990s, he traveled a lot in southeastern Asia, and he even wrote a controversial travel book. Éva Forrai in her review (which was published in the Hungarian journal Magyar Narancs) blamed him for propagating sex-tourism and pedophilia. In 2015, his sculpture works were exhibited in Budapest.
Božidar Mandić was born on 1 January 1952 in Novi Sad. He was part of the avantgarde scene in the late 1960s and during the 1970s that gathered around Youth Tribune, Index and Polja. He was a member of the groups January, February, March and, subsequently, Intima, an informal urban hippy commune in Novi Sad.
He was among the youngest members of Youth Tribune and he established the group Stinking Bill and Company (Smrdljivi Bil i kompanija) in 1970 with Vladimir Mandić (unrelated). Subsequently, Božidar initiated The Academy of Fine Arts in Shed (Likovna akademija u šupi) as a reaction to the educational system. Božidar's significant performances aimed at shocking people and raising their cultural awareness. The majority of these performances were inadequately or not at all documented.
He says about himself: “I did not belong to schooled art. Rather I made a leap from a conceptual family into an elementary culture and ‘wildism’ [divljizam] – aesthetics which signify the beginning of a new civilization, even if I'm the only one for whom it holds significance.” (Milenković, 2015, p. 105)
He came to age in the company of the members of Youth Tribune and, in the words of Nebojša Milenković, he witnessed “the brutal blow they suffered from the communist bureaucracy”. In the 1970s the alternative counterculture operated on communal principles and Božidar, together with those banned from Youth Tribune organized an urban commune at 18 Tesla Street, Novi Sad, because all means of institutional action were cut off. The commune was occasionally raided by police, as they were seen as drug addicts and as a danger to society.
The art of Božidar Mandić in the 1970s focused on creating ‘incidents’ and ‘spaces of incident’ in traditional culture. Vujica Rešin Tucić coined the term “tradition of the avantgarde” which refers to the concept of tradition and acknowledges the right of every person to choose the tradition to which they belong, place of birth notwithstanding.
In the commune on Tesla Street, Božidar and Braila, his spouse, hosted vegetarian lunches every Friday at 3PM and invited friends for conversation, being one of Božidar’s art forms. After being advised to leave this address by the police, Božidar and Braila purchased property on Rudnik mountain in 1977 near the village of Brezovica and they moved to the forest with their newborn daughter Ista. Božidar made his alternative way of practicing and living art into immediate reality. They established the Family of Clear Streams commune, or, as Božidar likes to call it “The Institute of Freedom Under the Open Sky”, where he still lives and makes art. He is active in the fields of literature, alternative theatre, theatrical directing and journalism.
- Majdan Rudnik, Serbia
Dušan Mandić graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana in 1981, where he went on to complete postgraduate studies under Professor Janez Bernik. Between 1980 and 1982, he served as artistic director of the ŠKUC Gallery programme. In 1983, he became a member of the Irwin group. In 1984, he joined the wider art collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK). NSK consisted of the music band Laibach, Sisters Scipion Nasice Theatre (today Cosmokinetic Cabinet Noordung) and the design department New Collectivism.
Source: DUŠAN MANDIĆ 1980-1982 | Galerija ŠKUC, http://www.galerijaskuc.si/about/history/dusan-mandic-1980-1982/ (accessed February 11, 2017).
- Ljubljana , Slovenia
Mihai Manea (b. 5 April 1955, Bucharest) was educated at a vocational school. In 1982, together with a number of colleagues, he founded a rock band, Barock Group, without the knowledge of the Party Committee in the factory where he was employed at the time, the Machine Tools and Aggregates Plant Bucharest (IMUAB). Initiating and pursuing such musical activities was not forbidden, but it required the approval in principle of the local Party organization. “The people in the plant, especially those from the Party who gave approval in the factory for artistic activities, found out about us directly from the newspaper. But there was no trouble. On the contrary, they immediately adopted us, they were proud of us. There were all sorts in the Romanian Communist Party.” This may be explained by the fact that all communist plants had to send participants from among their employees to the national Cântarea României (Song of Romania) festival. Founded in 1976, and conceived as a festival for amateurs and professionals, Cântarea României in fact destroyed professional standards and promoted shows eulogizing the Romanian Communist Party and its leadership, finally becoming an important vehicle for the personality cult of Nicolae Ceaușescu. At the same time, the local phases were much less ideologized than those at county or national level, so for many young people, taking part in this festival was a welcome break from their regular workplace activity (D. Petrescu 2010, 304–307).
In his employment card, Mihai Manea was categorized at IMUAB as “cutting-tool operator,” denoting a highly skilled worker. It is a trade that he has practised very little, because in fact a large part of his professional activity has been connected with the production of and technical support for numerous concerts. For a short time, he also worked at the Research Institute for Household Articles and Toys in Bucharest. Like many other young people, Mihai Manea had multiple ambitions: he toyed with science fiction writing, frequenting several clubs (and chairing one such writers’ group, which operated within the IMUAB), with a sporting career (he is a former rugby-player), and, for a short time, with cinema (directing short and very short films as a member of cinema clubs in Bucharest).
At the same plant where he was employed until 1990, Mihai Manea was the coordinator, in both the technical and the editorial senses, of the amplification post through which “cultural-artistic programmes” were transmitted for the benefit of the institution. “It’s interesting that they let me deal with it, that they had the trust to leave something like that in my hands – and I say this because I wasn’t a Party member. Only when I was young, I was, for a short time, a member of the Union of Communist Youth, but I was never a full member of the Romanian Communist Party. I kept slipping through the net.” In communist Romania, all young people aged between 14 and 30 were in the Union of Communist Youth (UTC), but of these only some became members of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR). In other words, inclusion in the UTC was obligatory and automatic, but PCR membership was conditional. In the 1980s, the selection criteria were lowered so much that only those who did not want to did not become Party members. Most joined out of opportunism, because belonging to the PCR gave access to many privileges, from the allocation of an apartment to approval for going abroad as a tourist.
For more than two and a half decades, Mihai Manea has worked as a technician at the Romanian Youth National Art Centre, an institution under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture, and he continues to maintain his passion for music and concerts, including at a professional level. It was basically only after the fall of communism that Mihai Manea’s life-long passion turned from amateurism to profession. “As young rebel I fingered an instrument too… the bass, but satisfaction came only when I began to understand that you can be a creator if you are part of the technical team. And so I moved on to pressing buttons, and gradually had the chance to work in big musical productions. You know, behind the scenes, when you’re inside the show, there’s a lot of adrenaline and sensations that can’t be described in words. Behind the scenes there’s a lot of work and there’s an army of people who always have something to do. There are thousands of metres of cables for sound and electricity, there are scaffolds and cranes, everywhere you find amplifiers, sound processors, and lighting controls. You come across hundreds of boxes, ventilators, smoke generators, pyrotechnics, gas for flames, scenery, and there are people who know about all these things and work with them while taking care for the safety of others. On the stage, on the roof, and under the stage, nothing is placed at random. How could I describe this beautiful madness? There aren’t words enough to express what you feel when you’re there, with people who have to make it all work.” Thus Mihai Manea concludes his confession about what is both his passion and his profession. Like many others who developed various hobbies in their free time by speculating on the freedoms permitted by the regime in the grey zone of tolerance, Mihai Manea represents a model of the post-December 1989 transformation of a personal collecting passion, in this case derived from his passion for music, into a profession.
- Bucharest, Romania
Vlastimil Marek je český alternativní hudebník, překladatel a publicista. Celoživotně se svými aktivitami zaměřuje především na východní filozofii, je zenový budhista a propagátor hudby New Age. Marek byl v 70. a 80. letech dlouhodobým aktivistou Jazzové sekce a do roku 1984 působil i v Sekci mladé hudby. Publikoval v periodikách obou sekcí články, recenze i překlady. Na přelomu 70. a 80. let absolvoval pobyty v zenových centrech v Polsku a Japonsku. Rozsáhlá byla jeho činnost přednášková, např. cyklus přednášek v knihovně Jazzové sekce v roce 1985. V červenci 1986 vyšel v nové edici Jazzové sekce Dveře (č. 1) úvodní Markův článek o hnutí New Age (Přežije sitár rok 2000?). Stejnojmenný hudební pořad připravoval s Emilem Pospíšilem. Byl členem hudebních skupin Extempore, Elektrobus, Amalgam, MCH Band. Hrál také s Jakubem Nohou (folk), Zdeňkem Hráškem (jazz). Od roku 1968 vydával i své vlastní časopisy pro přátele, a to nákladem pěti kusů, tzv. Markoviny. Samizdatově vydal rovněž desítky textů a překladů s duchovní a filozofickou tematikou, z nichž většina je uložena v knihovně Libri prohibiti. V srpnu 1986 byl vzat StB do vazby pro pořádání mírového gongového koncertu. Souběžně s tím byl obviněn pro údajné „poškozování zájmů republiky v cizině“. Následná žaloba byla vystavěna na základě jeho článku „Dopis z Prahy“ pro časopis Kyoto Journal (prosinec 1984), ve kterém se vyjádřil o omezených možnostech existence nezávislé kultury v tehdejším Československu. Odsouzen byl ke čtyřměsíčnímu trestu odnětí svobody s podmíněným odkladem na jeden rok. Jeho trestní stíhání sledoval Výbor na obranu nespravedlivě stíhaných (VONS), který o něm opakovaně informoval ve svých „sděleních“. Své duchovní postoje, vzpomínky a bibliografii shrnuje Marek např. v knize Český zen a umění naslouchat (1994).
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic